A Daughter's Plea for Help

February 18, 2011
Dear Dad,

Daddy, remember when you told me “Whitney I never want you to drink because it’s bad and it can really hurt people?”

Remember when we were in that really bad car crash on Mariposa and 1st Street? When I was in 7th grade, about 2 years ago. Mom and I were really scared the day of the accident. While I was crying hysterically, you were calm as if nothing had happened. Why? You hurt the guy’s leg, and you literally smashed his car in half. I remember the look on my mom’s face, she was pale instead of having those red blushed cheeks she usually has, her shiny coffee-colored eyes full of tears, her ebony eyeliner smeared all over and you didn't care! You know why this happened? It happened because you’re an alcoholic...

Mom made you understand to give the guy your information so that you wouldn’t get in trouble. Thanks to her nothing worse happened to you, like going to jail. It really hurts us that you drink, Dad. I have cried many times because I don’t want anything to happen to you. Mom doesn't like it either... You’re doing the damage to yourself. We want you to get help but you don’t want it. You need it but you don’t let us help you.

I remember when Sam, my brother tried helping us. I’ve always looked up to him, even though we have different dads. I'll never forget how seriously he said to you, “Se acuerda de como murieron los hijos de Jesús? Cesar y su hermano? Ellos tomaban mucho, Luigi... nosotros no queremos que le pase eso.” (Remember how the sons of Jesus died? Cesar and his brother? They drank a lot, Luigi... we don't want that to happen to you.)

Meanwhile, I sat at the dinner table, quiet. I knew that if I said anything, you would probably shout, “No one’s talking to you, Whitney!” I just stared at you and Sam, thinking about how different you are everything from your personality to your looks. He is an admirable brother while you’re not. His presence is pleasant while yours is isn’t. I know you’re not Sam’s real dad, but you’ve taken care of him since he came to the U.S when he was 15 years old.

After Sam spoke you responded with, “Es mi vida, y yo ago lo que quiero.” (It’s my life, and I do whatever I want with it.)

Sam is a grown-up now. He’s thirty and he just wants the best for you. We want you to know that we don't want anything to happen to you. Even if you think we don't, we love you, Dad, but you don’t give any attention to Mom and me. You prefer liquor over us. Good thing Mom never leaves me alone, she’s always there for me. You have told me that you want me to trust you. Oh, yes, hold on, give me a minute. I’ll tell everything that happens in my life! As if I could ever confide in you?

Whenever you are drunk and see me talking on the phone, you get mad thinking that it’s my “boyfriend”. You yell angrily at me, “Ya vas otra vez hablando con ese mocoso de tu novio verdad?! Ya vas a ver cuando lo mire lo que le va a pasar.” (There you go again talking to your boyfriend, huh? Watch what is going to happen to him when I see him.)

Every time you’re drunk you come up with excuses to punish me and take away my stuff. You don't understand me like Mom does. Of course, she’s always there for me. Sometimes, I feel like I don't have a father because your always asleep, drinking or “working.” You never have time for me. Every Friday, I come home to find you drunk on the couch, with your face really red, bags under your darkbrown eyes, watching TV like if there is nothing to do. It’s your day off, I get it but why can’t you take me to the park after school or to see your grandson Chris play soccer! He’s always runs quickly to always make the goals, but no, you’d rather drink alcohol than be with me and Chris. When you wake up the first thing you do is start a fight with me. I’m not your maid for whenever you want me to get you water or to make you food. At night, when we all go to sleep, sometimes I can’t sleep because I hear you throwing up and it’s disgusting.

I hate when you and Mom fight. It’s really irritating when we need you and you don’t want to help us and that’s why Mom gets mad and when you guys start fighting...

When Mom says, “Luigi vamos al mercado!” (Luigi, let’s go to the market!)

You always have to say, “ Ayy no! Estoy cansado.” (Ugh no! I'm tired.)

Yet, you think Mom’s never tired? I try to help her when I can but you never help. I’m really tired of telling you to get help. Why did you change? Mom told me you were never like that but when she gave birth to me, everything changed. Sometimes I wonder to myself, “Was it my fault that you started drinking? Did you not want me?” It hurts to think that but what other conclusions can I come to if you started drinking when I was born? However, you also seem to think that I hate you. I don't hate you. I hate the fact that you drink. You promise you will stop. Yes, you stop for a month or so, but then you start all over again. I'm just annoyed that you can’t keep your promises.

Mom always tells you, “El que por su culpa muere que lo entierren emparado.”
We care about you and I personally don’t want that to happen to you. We love you, Dad. Please get help, for your own good. If I knew anyone else with a dad like you I would tell them to talk to them or get help as soon as possible for them before it’s too late because it can either ruin his life, or kill him.

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